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Gut microbiome and skin barrier functions

Your gut microbiome is made up of trillions of microorganisms that live in the intestinal track. They are mainly composed of bacteria and other genetic material, and support the functioning of many systems within the body.

Gut microbiome plays a huge part in your digestive system, helping the body to digest food and absorb nutrients. They also play a key role in other processes such as regulating metabolism, determining body weight, regulation of the immune system, and functions of the brain and mood.

Every person has a unique composition of gut bacteria that is influenced by many different lifestyle and genetic factors. A lot of aspects that affect gut health are pre-determined and difficult to change such as how you were born, how you grew up, and any stressful events or illnesses that have been lived through. However, gut microbiome can be more easily modified through controllable factors including environment and diet.

Changes made in your gut microbiome can have an effect on skin conditions. There is a strong link between the gut microbiome and skin, contributing to conditions such as acne, psoriasis, rosacea, and eczema. For example, the way your gut reacts to your diet can trigger an inflammatory response throughout the body that triggers eczema, acne, or other conditions to flare up. Probiotics, which are healthy bacteria that are good for the gut, also have shown signs of improving symptoms of patients with eczema.

A healthy gut provides a barrier between the intestinal tract and rest of the body, however it can become inflamed when irritants such as alcohol, allergens, antibiotics, food additives, or preservatives are ingested. When the gut becomes irritated, the body’s immune system will respond, which often leads to skin flare ups. Additionally when the gut is irritated, it could potentially loss its barrier functions and let additional bacteria, substances and other gut microorganisms to enter and cause more inflammation.

When the body is under systemic inflammation and stress, the skin stops producing the natural antimicrobial proteins that form the protective barrier of the skin. With a weakened skin barrier, skin infections and diseases will get worse. Minimizing gut irritation and keep health gut microbiome are essential to help your body maintain a strong skin barrier. Interestingly, skin also functions as a barrier. For eczema sufferers, when the skin barrier is compromised, it also makes the body more prone to allergic reactions.

Human body is a complex system, to stay healthy requires individuals to not only look at their skincare routines, minimize the contact with potential irritants that could damage the skin, but also analyze the aspects of their diet and the life style for healthy skin and body.

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